“Why Syria’s Kurds are beating Al Qaeda,” By Balint Szlanko

Why Syria’s Kurds are beating Al Qaeda

The author, Balint Szlanko

By Balint Szlanko – @balintszlanko
For Syria Comment, December 16. 2013

The Kurds of Syria have been in the news lately. Fighting—and beating—Al Qaeda-allied groups and other rebel militias in their struggle for Syria’s northeast, in the past year they have in effect set up their own ministate inside the country. Here is why they are winning.

1. Unified command and control structures. Unlike the rebel militias, the Kurdish armed group, the Yekineyen Parastina Gel (People’s Protection Units) or YPG, is controlled by a single general command. This allows it to effectively operate on a frontline more than 120 miles long by transferring people and other assets relatively easily to where the need arises and to coordinate operations effectively. Contrast this with its enemies, the mainly Arab rebels: they are splintered into at least six major groups (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the Nusra Front, Ahrar al Sham, the Kurdish Islamic Front, the Tawheed Brigade, and the Free Syrian Army, itself an umbrella organisation of smaller groups) that have a patchy record of coordination. Indeed, some of the rebel groups that fight together against the Kurds have often fought each other elsewhere.

2. Superior tactical skills and discipline. It’s hard to be entirely sure of this because YPG commanders provide journalists with only limited access to their operations. That said, the YPG frontline positions and checkpoints I have seen tended to look well-organised with properly dug trenches and positions for machine-guns, snipers and spotters. Their checkpoints tend to have sandbags for protection, rather than blocks of cement, which are easier to transport and set up but give less protection against gunfire because they tend to splinter upon the bullet’s impact. There is also evidence that the YPG receives training from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a militant group that has decades of experience fighting the Turkish state. I met one PKK trainer in a town under YPG control who said he was teaching the YPG battlefield tactics.

3. Wide popular backing. The YPG’s political master, the Democratic Union Party or PYD, is not without its share of controversies and has plenty of detractors among the Kurds. But with only the YPG standing between the Islamists and the Kurdish towns, the militia is currently receiving plenty of genuine support from the population. This includes not only Kurds but Arabs and Christians, too, many of whom have much to fear from the rebels. The Kurdish areas are full of pictures of the YPG’s fallen, and funerals often turn into big celebrations that are not staged (though certainly encouraged). Contrast this with the enemy’s position: some of the rebel groups are feared, despised or even hated in the areas they control, partly because of the insecurity and corruption that have often followed them, and because the oppression some of the more extreme groups have instigated.

4. A powerful ideology. The YPG subscribes to a secular nationalism that has historically been highly effective as a force for mobilisation and war. Kurdish nationalism, which has so far been denied its own state, has a huge number of followers in the area and is less controversial than the ideology many rebels have subscribed to, political Islam. The Kurds’ ideology is also effective in that it doesn’t work to the exclusion of others: relations with the region’s minorities, Sunni Arabs and Christians, have so far been mostly good, thanks to the common enemy. Nationalism, of course, can easily turn into paranoid xenophobia, but so far there is not much evidence that this is happening.

5. A relatively open political system. The PYD has been often accused of cracking down on its political opponents and there is evidence that this has indeed been the case. That said, the political structure of the Kurdish autonomy is the most open in Syria right now, giving positions not just to the dominant PYD, but to its main political rival, the Kurdish National Council (itself an umbrella group of parties). In the recently announced temporary administration not just Kurds but also Christians have taken up positions. This helps ensure that representation—and therefore legitimacy and mobilisation—are on a far more solid ground than under the stifling dictatorship of the regime areas and the chaos of the rebel-controlled towns.

6. A good road network. The geographical shape of the Kurdish autonomy is in some sense unfortunate, being very wide and with a depth of only a few miles in places. Yet this also a source of luck, as there is a good paved road along the entire length of the area. This allows easy transport of troops and other assets from one part of the war zone to another. The entire of length of the autonomy can be travelled in half a day.

7. Access to fuel. Hasakah province is said to contain about 60 per cent of Syria’s (meagre) oil wealth. Not all of this is in Kurdish hands and most of the oil rigs are not working at the moment. That said, there is some refining going on, which provides the YPG with a reliable source of fuel for its trucks.

8. A safe and intact home front. The Kurds have so far avoided a clash with the government, which means they haven’t had to worry about airstrikes and artillery shelling. Many of Syria’s rebel-controlled cities, towns and villages have been reduced to rubble with little or no electricity and little food. These shortages always effect the civilians more than the fighters, but they still make it much harder to fight a war. They also tend to cause corruption and infighting, which the Kurds have so far been able to avoid.

9. Clever strategy. Many of the factors mentioned above stem from this. The Kurds have simple and clearly defined war aims—protecting and governing their own territories—and are focusing on the essentials to achieve this: running a single, well-organised security force, keeping hostiles—the Islamists and the FSA—out and compromising with those—the government—who present no immediate danger. They have also avoided looting and terrorising their own towns, unlike their opponents.

To be sure, the Kurds still face an uphill struggle. They are under embargo from all sides: the border crossings into Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan are closed, and until they can figure out the politics with their neighbours they will remain closed. This puts huge pressure on them economically and militarily. It is unclear where the YPG gets its weapons from but being under lockdown can’t be good. In this context, the recent capture of the Yaroubiya crossing into Iraq proper is a big success, because for the first time it gives them access to a non-hostile state.

The Kurds also face a well-supplied and dedicated—indeed fanatical—enemy that is unlikely to give up easily, though the recent government offensives in the west might refocus the rebels’ attention. The Kurds also have an odd relationship with the Syrian government, based essentially on a common enemy, the rebels. But this is not a real allience and could easily tip over. With the Syrian government still in control of an airfield and an artillery base in the middle of the Kurdish autonomy, things could quickly get ugly if that relationship breaks down.

Balint Szlanko is a freelance journalist who has covered Syria since early 2012 and has recently completed two trips to the Kurdish areas

Comments (139)

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101. Observer said:

Well said Syrian Hamster.

Mikdad says that the retard is running for re election. He will recieve hmmmmm let me think 97%; 87%; 77% of the vote. It includes the votes of a few animals kept in the zoo of decency.

He is in deep dodo these days.

They are coming for you and coming soon, very soon.

He he he he he

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December 19th, 2013, 2:59 pm



Dear Mr. Alan
If you think I am reading you, you would a bigger (“…..”) than what your interlocutors think you are.


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December 19th, 2013, 3:17 pm


103. zoo said:

“Saudi Arabia should be put on the list of countries supporting terrorism,”

Nobody can stop Assad from running again: Syria

“The mechanism established by the UN is that both of us will address (UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar) Brahimi. Mr Brahimi will be in the middle and he will be leading the discussions,” he said.

Muqdad described the United States and Russia as the “initiators” and said their representatives “will be seated in two rooms near the talks”.

Their role will be to provide “advise… to any delegation that wants to tell them about difficulties” and help “solve problems” that may arise.

Muqdad had harsh words for Saudi Arabia, which has supported rebels fighting to oust Assad.

“I think that if the world wants to avoid another 11 September incident, they must start telling Saudi Arabia ‘enough is enough’,” he said, referring to Al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks on the US.

“Saudi Arabia should be put on the list of countries supporting terrorism,” said Muqdad, while rejecting opposition to the participation at the peace talks for Syria’s ally Iran.

Muqdad said: “It’s a tragedy that the French and the Americans are insisting that Iran will not attend while Saudi Arabia which is destroying Syria will attend … It is absolutely unacceptable.”

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December 19th, 2013, 3:42 pm


104. zoo said:


It is the sad story of all naive idealists who ignore their country recommendations not to take risks and who end up by facing the ugly reality of war and human cruelty when it is too late.
The poor guy died after loosing all his illusions.

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December 19th, 2013, 3:57 pm


105. zoo said:

A UNSC Security Council statement “expressing outrage at Syria airstrikes” on Al Nusra rebels held areas( probably pushed by Baby Bandar) ends up in the dustbin of UN.
In view of Russia’s objections, the USA simply dropped it without making much fuss.

Diplomats say Russia objects to UN statement expressing outrage at Syrian airstrikes

The Associated Press December 19, 2013 3:10 PM

Diplomats say Russia has objected to a proposed U.N. Security Council statement expressing outrage at Syrian government airstrikes, especially this week’s indiscriminate use of heavy weapons in Aleppo that have killed more than 100 people.

The proposed council statement required approval from all 15 members.

Diplomats said Russia, the Syrian government’s most important ally, wanted all references to the regime stripped from the statement, so the U.S. decided to drop it

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December 19th, 2013, 4:05 pm


106. zoo said:

The state of the opposition in one sentence

ISIS is kidnapping FSA fighters while the IF kidnaps Al Nusra fighters who are kidnapping ISIS fighters

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December 19th, 2013, 4:10 pm


108. zoo said:


The number of posts who have written about the doctor leaves doubts about your flat denial.

Since you share many of the ethnic and religious characteristics of the Doctor, I guess you could easily imagine yourself in the same situation were you an idealistic and a risk taker.

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December 19th, 2013, 4:33 pm


109. zoo said:

The claim of “70% of Syria liberated” is made again but this time it’s no more the FSA’s but Al Nusra’s claim

Leader of al Qaida-linked Nusra Front predicts victory over Syria’s Assad

BEIRUT — The leader of one the most feared and effective Syrian rebel groups told Al Jazeera news service Thursday that the nearly 3-year-old conflict was close to an end and that his forces – considered to be among the most radical – held the upper hand over both the Syrian regime and secular rebel groups.

Speaking as the chief of the Nusra Front, Abu Mohammed al Joulani, designated as al Qaida’s top representative in Syria, said in his first media interview that the group rejected peace talks scheduled for late January and warned Sunni Arab states of betrayal by the West as America and Iran begin discussions to end their 30-year feud.

“The battle is almost over, we have covered about 70 percent of it, and what’s left is small. We will achieve victory soon. We pray to God to culminate these efforts with victory. It’s only a matter of days,” he told an interviewer, his face and the interview location hidden for security reasons.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/12/19/212220/leader-of-al-qaida-linked-nusra.html#storylink=cpy

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December 19th, 2013, 4:40 pm


110. zoo said:

The Syrian Regime’s Military Solution to the War

Jeffrey White

December 18, 2013

Victory is not assured for the regime, but trends are moving in its favor.

It has become commonplace to say that “there is no military solution” to the conflict in Syria. That claim, invoked by Western officials including the U.S. secretary of state, is used to justify an emphasis on diplomacy (the Geneva II process) and limitations on assistance to the armed opposition.

The war could indeed have a military outcome, and in light of current trends, that outcome could be a regime victory. The outlines of a regime strategy for winning the war are visible. This strategy hinges on the staying power of the regime and its allies, the generation of adequate forces, operational success, and continued divisions within rebel forces. It is subject to serious constraints, especially limitations on the size and effectiveness of regime and associated forces, and “game changers” could alter its course. But a regime victory is possible — and that is what the regime is counting on.


For all the reasons outlined here, assertions that “there is no military solution” to the Syrian conflict should be viewed with caution. While the regime is not certain to win the kind of victory it seeks, and may have to settle for less, the war is now moving in its favor and prospects for a reversal do not look good.

Barring a sudden collapse of the armed resistance, which for the Islamist core seems unlikely, the regime will only slowly defeat rebel forces and recover territory. But the regime is implacable and its allies are steadfast.

Regarding Geneva, the regime’s approach to the war suggests that it will not negotiate seriously with the rebels. And given its increasing success on the battlefield, the continued support of its allies, and a divided and feckless opposition, there is no reason why it should.

Jeffrey White is a Defense Fellow at The Washington Institute and a former senior defense intelligence officer.

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December 19th, 2013, 4:48 pm


111. ALAN said:

102. SYRIAN HAMSTER said: / Vee-Vee-Pee/
It is important to learn good speech and civility in the comments!
Do not force the barber to send you to”………”

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December 19th, 2013, 4:57 pm


112. Uzair8 said:

106. Zoo


I probably wouldn’t have looked into it. In fact I did see a thread title about the Dr but didn’t bother looking into it at the time. It was only after noticing you’re comment and later seeing the involvement of George Galloway that I took an interest.

It even took me a day to actually read a post in another forum from which I shared the Dr’s wife’s message.

Granted I seized the opportunity to undermine efforts to rehabilitate Assad and also to do damage to the regime.

That’s how it should be. Every ounce of mileage should be squeezed out of every regime misstep to make it regret it ever did any crime.

The more I looked into the story the more I realised the moving reality.

I couldn’t help taking advantage especially with Mr Galloway involved and finding himself in an awkward situation. He’s had to be creative with forming his position but he does suspect it was ‘murder most foul’. This issue raised some questions about the regime and it’s contradictions, about something not being quite right within it’s ranks.

I’ve seen people who were skeptical of the revolution now cursing oppressors and praying for their destruction. Those who had illusions of Assad, and one guy elsewhere thinks Assad is great for some reason, he believes his interviews. What will he be thinking now?

The murder of a British Dr may well change a lot of peoples view on the Syrian issue.

Also like someone else has said, it was immediately obvious this could be an example of the regime behaviour and thinking which may push people into reassessing their view on the chemical attacks.

Many of us said there are monsters in the regime who would have no qualms about using chemical weapons.

It should now be clear to everyone how the regime denies and lies.

Unfortunately it took the Dr’s tragic death.

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December 19th, 2013, 5:11 pm


113. ALAN said:

الزوجة السابقة للعاهل السعودي تتحدث حصرياً لإذاعتنا عن قضية الأميرات الأربع

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December 19th, 2013, 5:15 pm




And it is neurotic to keep writing childish letters to someone who never responds. Kapeesh?

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December 19th, 2013, 5:23 pm


115. zoo said:

“Syrian Americans Forum” object to Kerry’s planned meeting with the Islamic front and reiterate calls for dialog

SAF Calls on Kerry to Abandon Policy of Possible Dealing with Terrorists in Syria


WASHINGTON, Dec. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Syrian American Forum (SAF) is surprised that our government is entertaining further coordination and possible support of extremists and terrorists in Syria. SAF calls on Secretary of State John Kerry to revise his statement of policy about possible legitimization of groups allied, directly or indirectly, with organizations and personalities the US government listed as terrorist organizations, i.e. “the Islamic Front”.

The Secretary of State spoke in Manila about “broaden(ing) the base of moderate opposition”, then claimed “that obviously does not include radical Islamists and the worst elements”. In one example, as many are available and can be furnished, we would like to draw the Secretary’s attention to the following:

The “Islamic Front” is an alliance of different extremist militias and terrorists, most notorious of which are “Ahrar Alsham” and the “Army of Islam”.
Bluntly, in a video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aEoXOfot-k#t=31) the military leader of the “Front” Zahran Alloush, directly admits that he met with leaders of AlNusra Front and fought alongside them, then saying “I have not found any difference between the ‘rules’ of AlNusra and those of the Army of Islam”. Alloush further dismisses the US listing of AlNusra as a terrorist organization. He boasts about the foreign support he is getting from wealthy governments and extremist fundamentalist personalities in the Gulf region who openly brag about their support to sectarian killing and massacring in Syria, all of those countries are very close US allies
“A senior al Qaeda operative known as Abu Khalid al Suri is a leading figure in Ahrar al Sham, a Syrian extremist group that is part of the recently formed Islamic Front. Al Suri’s real name is Mohamed Bahaiah” according to http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2013/12/aq_courier_rebel_leader_zawahiri.php?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter#ixzz2nwjI7Uul

“How much worse should it get, Mr. Kerry, before we realize that our policies are only prolonging the killing and destruction in Syria?” asked Dr. Ghias Moussa, Director of Communications of SAF. “Do we have to wait until these terrorists hit us home, here in the USA, before we open our eyes to the fact that we are channeling our efforts and energy in the wrong direction?”

SAF calls on the Administration to abandon this policy that amounts to fueling the crisis in Syria and move instead to promoting dialogue in Syria through the Geneva2 process with the representatives of the Syrian people not of the militias consisting of foreign fighters and financing.

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December 19th, 2013, 5:24 pm



her it goes again,…. the zouzou’s and co staying-power.

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December 19th, 2013, 5:28 pm


117. zoo said:


120,000 dead syrians did not change the mind of many.
Sorry but I doubt the death of a volunteer Moslem british doctor who died in suspicious circumstances a day before he was going to be released will have any impact.
I understand that you are trying to console yourself by trying to find a “meaning” to his death.
Unfortunately it does not have any as the decapitations and tortures have changed nothing in the course of that human disaster that some continue to call a revolution.
As cynical as it may sound, the Doctor died for nothing.

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December 19th, 2013, 5:33 pm


118. zoo said:

Jihad Makdissi reappears and hopes for the ‘silent majority’ to take its place

Former Assad official Makdissi backs ‘third way’ for Syria’s silent majority

December 19, 2013

DUBAI // Peace talks between the Syrian regime and opposition next month could open a political path for the “silent majority” of Syrians who support neither side, a former regime spokesman says.

Jihad Makdissi disappeared from Damascus with his family in mysterious circumstances a year ago, sparking rumours he had defected.

He has since stayed largely out of the public eye and, despite a brief statement saying he had resigned because “violence and polarisation” had “left no place for moderation and diplomacy”, he did not join the opposition, he said.

But peace talks scheduled for January 22 in Montreux and Geneva have raised Mr Makdissi’s hopes and those of other Syrians that a “third-way” solution can be found to the brutal conflict that has killed at least 120,000 people.

“After Geneva these people will dare to speak more. I am talking about the silent majority of Syrians,” he told The National in Dubai, where he is now based.

“We know it will not be perfect. It will not bring a perfect result. Any truce or ceasefire is a gain because it will give room for politics. It’s a window of opportunity.”

He said the regime had failed to address “the core issue of the Syrian people and change”, while the opposition had been “talking to the West, not the Syrian people”.

“The opposition was impatient to topple the regime. The street wants change. There’s a huge difference,” Mr Makdissi said. “If you’re in a boxing match, the opposition wants a knockout. The people want to win by points, I believe.”

Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/world/middle-east/former-assad-official-makdissi-backs-third-way-for-syrias-silent-majority#ixzz2nxwPQq3f
Follow us: @TheNationalUAE on Twitter | thenational.ae on Facebook

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December 19th, 2013, 6:20 pm


119. Observer said:

he supposedly committed suicide according to the stooge Mikdad. Died just a day before being released. He weighed 22 kg. He probably was starved to death and then a few days before his release his captors may have given him more food and he may have died from re-feeding syndrome. But again to arrive at a weight of 22 kg it means that he was starved just as the Nazis starved the Jews and he died bringing the horror of your regime to the fore. He was also tortured to death just as millions before were over the last 50 years of abomination called the Alawi regime of oppression and hatred and graft. 50 years of drinking Matte and getting drunk and taking positions without any education and taking posts by corruption and not paying any water or electricity bills and stuffing positions with fake salaries and moreover after calling for France to give them independence and then going on to attack Al Hiffeh only to have them beaten back in the early 20th Century.

This is the regime insider defending another abomination. Well well he is lamenting beheadings but he forgets burying people alive and burning them alive and killing their children with knives in front of their parents and raping their daughters in front of their fathers.

The Alawites are now negotiating non retribution. They will have full retribution unfortunately as they lumped their fate with the worst Arab dictator in history.

200000 dead 3 million homes destroyed and this is being conservative.

He is coming for you and soon very soon indeed.

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December 19th, 2013, 6:32 pm


120. Tara said:

Defeat is victory….and

Depravity is decency.

Pretending emotions towards Syria and towards the British “Muslim” doctor is deprave.

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December 19th, 2013, 7:09 pm


121. zoo said:

The terrorists defender has openly admitted he is no more an Syrian expat , he is an alien to Syria. He has no emotional link with Syria whatsoever and he is just observing with delight the splitting of Syria that he has been advocating right from the start.

He is having just fun here predicting more disasters and more death for Syrians.

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December 19th, 2013, 7:17 pm


122. Akbar Palace said:

The Sunni Jihadists must eradicated totally from the whole Middle East and the world…

Of all the lame excuses… The Sunni (and Mullahstan Shia) Jihadists appeared in Syria over a half-year AFTER Assad went to war against unarmed Syrians expressing their free speech.

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December 19th, 2013, 7:29 pm


123. zoo said:

@119 Observer

You said:

“he supposedly committed suicide according to the stooge Mikdad. Died just a day before being released. He weighed 22 kg. He probably was starved to death

Please provide the source of this information.

The doctor wrote in a letter: “Repeated bouts of diarrhoea and chronic dermatological infection saw me lose 40-50 per cent of my body weight.”

“He was moved in August to a civil prison – low security almost like an open prison. He seemed to be comfortable and began teaching English to others. My mum saw him regularly at this point.



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December 19th, 2013, 7:45 pm


124. zoo said:


Did you know that?

His brother:

“He was moved in August to a civil prison – low security almost like an open prison. He seemed to be comfortable and began teaching English to others. My mum saw him regularly at this point.

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December 19th, 2013, 7:58 pm


125. Matthew Barber said:

Adam Daniels,

You are welcome to post your opinions on Syria Comment, but please consult our guidelines: http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/syria-comment-rules-and-regulations/

Remarks that are abusive to or intolerant of people groups are not allowed. (I.e. “… the Kurds are the most incompetent/inadequate people in the Middle East” – such comments are not respectful or appropriate and will result in the prevention of posting on the part of the user.)
If you have a problem with specific individuals or groups who commit certain acts, you must specify this and explain what actions you are denouncing, rather than making generalized attacks on human communities (i.e., consider the difference between: “Sunnis who engage in terrorism” vs. “Sunnis are terrorists”).

I have noticed recent references to minorities that are basically blanket-statements: i.e. “…a mirror image of the face of minorities in the ME.” If “minorities” in this statement were replaced with “Sunnis” I would immediately begin receiving emails asking for the banning of the user. Please do not malign whole groups; each group is comprised of individuals whose actions, opinions, and beliefs differ.

We also do not allow terms of abuse that are hurtful to people with disabilities. I’ve noticed that the use of “retard” has reemerged lately; please do not use this word.

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December 19th, 2013, 7:59 pm



Notwithstanding that zouzou omitted many of Dr. Khan’s words (i thought this was Ghufran’s job), zouzou’s attempt to throw sand in our eyes by challenging the veracity of OBSERVERS’s comment about Dr. Khan’s weight when he finally succumbed to torture as if it is the issue not the death under torture of one of many Doctors who died at zouzou’s regime torture dungeons, is a standard mullahstan deceitful trick: argue details, and keep trying to divert people’s eyes from the reality of your ugliness.

Wow, no matter how well these liars are potty trained by their iranian and russian masters, the potty has a huge hole in it.

And zouzou, most likely a lebanese aoune and nus-lira operative, is now defining what it is to be Syrian. Shameless as the masters of propaganda always are.

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December 19th, 2013, 8:06 pm


127. zoo said:


No one calls a “low security prison” where a prisoner teaches english “a dungeon” of tortures.
Only frustrated and hysterical hamsters.

By the way could you stop imposing on us your suspicious taste for scatology.

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December 19th, 2013, 8:14 pm


128. Tara said:


You must also read:

“He had been held in an underground cell in complete darkness for eight months, systematically beaten and tortured, she said. At one point his weight dropped to a five stone.

In two handwritten letters, passed to Foreign Secretary William Hague by his mother, Dr Khan wrote: “I have been violently forced to beat other prisoners, kept in squalid conditions, …… I have also experienced male prisoners being beaten to death and female prisoners screaming as they were being abused.”

Whitewashing the crime is depravity!

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December 19th, 2013, 8:21 pm



Funny thing that zouzou tries to use “civilized” definition like minimum security jail again to throw sands in everyone eyes about the level of depravity the abominations it tries to defend, rather desperately. Sink zouzou sink……

A 14 year old relative of mine was tortured, in her school, by an entity, who just like zouzou, throws sands in people’s eyes in defense of an indefensible abomination like the assad regime. she still has the scars to show..

The level of desperation entities like zouzou show in defending the criminal regime and whitewashing its crime is an indication of their fear of eventually being held accountable for their culpability in the crimes for whitewashing such crimes is not merely a depravity as TARA has correctly pointed. It is participation, with malicious intent in killing Syrians. Zouzou only has words like hysterical hamster to throw back at me. How smart… civilized, and really really pathetic and desperate.

The stench of fear permeates every post trying to show that their buffoon murdering thug has “staying-power”..

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December 19th, 2013, 8:28 pm


130. Tara said:


It is interesting that “remarks” are not tolerated on SC while criminal invitation to aerial bombardment and shelling to rubble of whole towns inhabited by children among the other civilians is ok.

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December 19th, 2013, 8:28 pm


131. Matthew Barber said:

It’s not okay, Tara, and users have been banned for it.

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December 19th, 2013, 8:38 pm



Forget it,.

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December 19th, 2013, 8:42 pm


133. Tara said:


We’ll, thank you Matt. I am glad it is not ok.

It happened a day or two ago. I do understand that a moderator can not read every comment. And I truly am not asking to ban the poster.

Nevertheless, it is my opinion that when the aim of hate comments is to anger the others and to derail the discussion, I believe banning is in order. But when they come within a context of a real discussion, it gives one a glimpse of the thinking of the others. As much as I have lived ( and would have loved to continue to live) in a Disney Fairy tale, the reality is that Syria has been the land of evil and ugliness. We can’t build a future if we do not understand the present…

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December 19th, 2013, 9:00 pm


134. Matthew Barber said:

I agree with you Tara, and I know you write with sincerity from your heart. And anyone who reads your comments can see that you always make real discussion, rather than just steamrolling others with the same sound-bytes in order to “win” an argument. But it’s easy for any of us to get carried away when the subject matter makes us so angry. We all have to remember to breathe and be respectful of others, and avoid language and statements that can be harmful.

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December 19th, 2013, 9:33 pm


135. mjabali said:

Matthew Barber:

Please let these guys and girls say what they want about the minorities. You see how they were raised up, regarding the minorities, from examples of their texts here in Syria Comment.

When you have Observer say a RACIST/BIGOTED term like:

” 50 years of drinking Matte….”

Please let us have the freedom to respond to him.

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December 19th, 2013, 10:56 pm


136. mjabali said:

Observer said in comment #119:

“after calling for France to give them independence and then going on to attack Al Hiffeh only to have them beaten back in the early 20th Century.”

I swear you do not know what you are talking about…..

I can prove it too…

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December 19th, 2013, 10:59 pm


137. Observer said:

For 50 years they never paid electricity or water fees. For 50 years they got a position in the security services and government posts with barely a high school education. For more than 50 years they have rendered Damascus the ugliest city in the ME. For 50 years they had to work as doubles to every sensitive post or knowledgable post. For 50 years they produced only Adonis and that when he was educated elsewhere. For 50 years maintenance of infrastructure went unanswered.
The Syrian Army has 5000 tanks 10000 canons and 20000 trucks and armored personnel carriers and they have not been able to “liberate “a single neighborhood without destroying it. When it came to defending the integrity and sovereignty of Syria they repeatedly caved in: in 73 when they were pushed back and only a face saving gesture to give them Quneitra lest the father appear to be really what he is a thug and an incompetent fool. For 50 years of calling for Arab unity they managed to fight Iraq overtly and covertly and they managed to colonize Lebanon and to alienate the majority of the people. For that they left in abject humiliation with dilapidated trucks filled to the brim with stolen bathroom fixtures.

As for the past; their leader declared he is a deity and wanted independence. As for the past one of my friends tells me that they were actually brought in by the Crusades to serve them on the way to Jerusalem and it is no coincidence that their locations coincide with those of the Crusades. I am not sure about the veracity of this story the other being that they came from souther Iraq.

As for the more recent history the minorities were given a chance to construct a secular democratic western oriented civil society with institutions and constitutions and laws in the tortured fertile crescent and they all failed miserably: first and foremost the Sunnis who tool over Iraq and botched it; the Maronites in Lebanon; and the Alawi in Syria.

All of them reverted to their ancient hatred; their backward look on a backward distorted view of history; their puffed up sense of importance and superiority.

Then they proved it again and again of how much hatred they have for the others: Look at what Saddam did to the Shia in the south or what the Maronites did in Sabra and Chatilla or what the Alawites did in Houla and Boueida and in Khaldieh and in Daraya and many other places.

As for the death of the hero in the regime dungeons first and foremost in a modern civil society law abiding modern state not in this sectarian barbaric abomination called Thouria Alathad the accused is to have a proper indictment; a proper trial; a proper defense; a proper visitation rights; a proper contact with the consular services; a proper decent humane conditions; a proper medical care; and if ill a proper transfer to a hospital; and then if he died in custody a proper investigation; a forensic autopsy by independent pathologists; and a proper accounting of what happened.

But fifty years of smoking cigarettes drinking Matte and having the children access higher posts beyond their level of education and competence while they race down Mezzeh in their fancy cars has left a mark of impunity that we see demonstrated to this day on this blog.

There is an old Damascene saying: he took off the skin of his behind and put right on his face: Shame on those that have no Shame and no Decency and not an iota of modernity thinking that wearing a Ray Ban makes you modern.

This ilk is still living and thinking and behaving like the cavemen of yonder.

As for free speech on this blog; I would argue that there is none. Once again, the ACLU sued the state of Mississippi when it tried to prevent the KKK from demonstrating in Biloxi.

I propose that the concept of free speech and what constitutes hate speech or call to violence be decided by a panel of outsiders.

The minorities ( lest I am accused of being from the majority ) cannot live with each other: if we accept the premise that we are all minorities imported from Mars and Jupiter then at this stage we cannot live together so let us get out of each other’s hair and each establish a state.

Before we forget; the death of Dr. Khan is but one example of the tip of the iceberg of the atrocities committed daily by this mafia regime and its supporters.

Now, all those that continue to support this stooge will share it his fate.

Bogdanov told him to keep quiet. Just as the flurry of his interviews died down suddenly when orders from the infallible Supreme Jurisprudent came down to tone it down.

If Athad we Burn Albalad as the slogan has turned on its master. This regime is so stupid and these people are so incompetent that they have left the people with nothing more to lose.

I hope that the killing stops immediately but the reality staring us in the face is that there is no country left. The country has ended. Now, any area that the regime does not control is being bombed.

Well, do not run asking for help when the same is going to be meted out to you in the coming months.

What goes around comes around.

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December 20th, 2013, 8:41 am


138. Observer said:


Here it is with the family saying that they were told he committed suicide.

He did it the old fashion Thouria Althad’s way with four bullets to the back of the head right?

In the meantime, I am back to reading this great book : Travels in the Mountains of the Alawis by a Frenchman in the early 20th Century. Fascinating on the way of life and customs. Great subject for a social anthropology PhD thesis on how these customs have now “invaded” Damascus and Aleppo and Latakkia

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December 20th, 2013, 9:05 am


139. zoo said:

To all the hateful, racists, sectarian, arrogant and warmongering pro-terrorists, I wish you a year filled with continuous frustration, hatred, humiliation, failure and despair.
I hope that 2014 will be the worst year of your life.

To the Syrians looking for dialog and peace, I just wish that the path finally reached leads them to the full victory over the dark forces working to bring down Syria.
I wish you a year of peace and reconciliation among brothers and sisters.

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December 20th, 2013, 9:40 am


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